Vaughns, NT Hoops Nearly Overcome 11 First-Half Columbia 3s
Senior Scores 18-Second Half Points, But NT Falls 70-66 To Lions
Asst. coach Scott Monarch takes the Mean Green through the pregame scouting report in the locker room.
PORTLAND, Ore. - In 2011, Columbia out-shot a young North Texas basketball team with 12 makes from 3-point. On Thursday in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic the Lions had nearly that many 3-pointers by halftime, and held off a furious Mean Green rally for a 70-66 win at the Chiles Center on the campus of the University of Portland.
Columbia (2-2) splashed home 11-of-15 from deep in the first half before Vertrail Vaughns and the Mean Green (2-2) woke up. Vaughns, who was scoreless at the break, exploded for 18 points in the closing frame, including 13 points in the final six minutes to put North Texas back into the game.
Vaughns' second 3-pointer from the right corner cut the Columbia lead to two points with 5:45 remaining, and his last offering from deep with 1:08 on the clock made it 69-66. Brandan Walton had a deep look at the potential game-tying 3-pointer with 15 seconds on the clock, but it clanged out.
"We emphasized to our guys before the game that Columbia is a great 3-point shooting team," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. "I give them credit. They were able to get us out of our rotations in both man and zone defense, and we simply have to be better at taking that scouting report to the floor. Vertrail did a great job for us today. He continues to hit big shots on the offensive end, but was just as good on the defensive end of the floor."
Maodo Lo (23 points) and Grant Mullins (18 points) were the main culprits for Columbia, which shot 47.1 percent from the floor, including 54.5 percent from downtown.
Next up for North Texas
The Mean Green continues play at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic regional in Portland against Idaho on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Central. While there will be no webcast or TV, you can listen to the action on the Mean Green Radio Network: 88.1 KNTU, 95.3 KHYI or KNTU.com.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
The last team to hit double-digit first-half 3-pointers was Hartford, who landed 10 3-pointers at the Super Pit against North Texas in Dec. of 2007.
Vertrial Vaughns hit four 3-pointers in a nine minute span late in the second half, and finished with a team-high 18 points.
Thursday's game against the Lions was a rematch of the 2011 meeting, which also took place on the west coast. The two met in the LMU Centennial Classic in Los Angeles, and Columbia landed 12 3-pointers to down the Mean Green, 72-57.
North Texas committed just seven turnovers, which are the fewest by an NT team since it had just five against Jackson State last December.